Losing my virtue-inity

What ever happened to ‘virtuous Pia’? Where did she go? 

I suspect she’s buried under the mountain of wine bottles out on the curb waiting for recycling day.

Turns out that all the best intentions in life can’t save you from… well… life. 

A few years ago, I embarked on a life changing journey to challenge myself. I quit everything. Cheese. Sugar. Carbs. Gluten. Jeebus help us, even wine.

(Reader: No! Not wine!

Me: Don’t worry, it didn’t last)

Damn it was affective. I lost about 10kg. My skin looked AMAZING. I finished an Xterra race (barely). I felt fucking incredible. Hell, I’m pretty sure I got taller.

Three years later and I find myself almost back where I started – Friday night, with a giant glass of wine in my hand, unapologetically eating my way through a pack of Girl Guide biscuits and watching endless episodes of Grace and Frankie (shoosh you. try it).

So what the hell happened?!

Let me tell you what happened…

Life.

Despite all your best efforts  (I’m including predictive text in here – yes, I AM trying to type ‘duck’ – fail), life gets in the way.

To save you some time, here’s a couple of highlights from the passed couple of years getting in the way of my virtue.

1. Mother nature – earthquakes suck. Big, small, medium, who actually cares. Earthquakes lead to stress. Stress leads to cheese and cheese is a gateway drug to cheesecake. Everyone knows that. 

2. Personal development – hahaha. Psych! Isn’t that just another fucking word for ‘life’?! Ain’t no one got time for that.

3. Life – let’s fill this with some of the following. Family, bills, DIY, Netflix, yoga pants (cookie pants), friends – not limited to, but including current, new and ex, goals, expectations, washing, weather and Griffins L&P biscuits.

4. Injuries – what the actual fuck. Everything is trucking along, perfectly fine, and the next thing you know you’re hooked up to a morphine drip with busted discs in your spin. Uuuugh. Screw you.

So look. I thought it would be easy. I thought I was pretty rad because I have up halloumi and got addicted to chia seeds. I could watch tv through the gap in my thighs. I genuinely believed I liked mock-late (I dont. It’s gross).

I wish my life was permanently changed and I survived on a diet of fitness videos (suck a bag of dicks fitness apps). But the truth is this, I’m human. I’m fallible. Im OK as I  am. Most of all, I really like chocolate biscuits.

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Five stupid things about the label ‘Yoga body’

Ok. Guilty. It’s been a while. No need to remind me. I’ve been reminding myself everyday for quite a few months. Luckily (for who exactly?), I’m wound up enough to express my emotions through blog.

There are two words I think should be struck from the English language with intensity. Like angrily crossing something off a list with a sharp pencil. Or angry purple crayon.

Those words are ‘yoga body’.
‘Yoga body’. And one more time – ‘yoga body’.
Who the hell is the punk who came up with this label??!!

I take gorilla pose very seriously. I actually look like a gorilla.

I take gorilla pose very seriously. I actually look like a gorilla.

I love yoga. On a good week I make three lunch time sessions and three after work and for good measure I throw in pilates once in a while.
I’ve dabbled with yoga previously but this time things are getting serious. I have two mats, two fancy non-skid towels, mat spray, a special yoga top with a built in bra, my own block, strap and foam roller, and I’m thinking of getting a headband with ‘I heart yoga’ plastered on the front. Have I bought into the fad of fancy fitness gear?… No, I don’t think so.

I even have two studios I pay an unlimited subscription to and the crazy thing is that I actually turn up rather than pay the usual gym donation (big shout out to Abundance and The Yoga Lounge)!

See?! I love yoga.

What I really don’t love though is the discussion on what constitutes a yoga body.
Let me just be clear. I do not have a yoga body. Whatever the hell it’s supposed to be.

Do my ankles look big in these leg warmers?

Do my ankles look big in these leg warmers?

I have sturdy, solid thighs – which I’m told is a proud, hereditary trait of the fierce, strong women in my family (in fact, my aim for a while now has been to have such strong thighs that I can crack coconuts between them – Too much information).  I have a curved spin which makes me look like a turtle in forward folds. I have unnaturally short arms which means reaching my toes was celebrated with the same enthusiasm as the moon landing.
And last but not least, I have a broken tail bone so when I’m told to sit properly on my sit bones I start to feel a little punchy.

So why should I even like yoga? Good question wise listener.

It’s empowering. It’s hard. It’s sweaty. It’s ego shattering. It’s satisfying. It’s soothing. It’s energising. And it makes me realise how strong I am. Both mentally and physically.
Shit that’s deep.

So with my crazy twisted spine, short little squirrel arms and broken tail, I get really frustrated when articles describe yoga bodies as something I’m not, nor will ever be.

With that, I’m giving you five stupid things about the label ‘yoga body’.

  1. Whilst trying to check out if you have a ‘yoga body’, you will spend too much time looking at the mirror in your studio and smack your forehead on the floor during crow pose.
  2. It’s likely you will buy a bra, tights or sparkly top a size too small because you think it is the size of someone who should have a ‘yoga body’. You will never wear said item of clothing as it cuts off your circulation and makes you lose the will to live.
  3. When you see endless ‘fitspo’ (don’t even get me started on that label), images of people with ‘yoga bodies’, you will get angry at the internet. And the internet is your friend. That’s where Netflix lives.
  4. Because you are trying to hard to fit into the expectations of a ‘yoga body’, you will bare not a part of your actual body to the outside world. Which is a shame because your actual body is beautiful. And you will also be vitamin D deficient.
  5. If you become too consumed with your ‘yoga body’, You’ll miss out on the real benefits of yoga. Inner awesomeness. And let’s be frank, everyone could do with a little more inner awesomeness.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, there are some very impressive people out there doing great work to crack this ceiling of expectations around the ‘yoga body’. I’d like to salute My Real Yoga Body and Richard Widmark from the Raw Experience who are doing a remarkable amount of good by changing how we see yoga bodies.

On a final note, happy Yoga day everybody! May your tree pose be strong and your forward folds bendy.

Wellbeing is a blue rinse away

A couple of days ago I started writing a blog post about butter.

Yep. Butter.

It’s probably not a huge surprise – given my lengthy absence from this blog – that I’ve been suffering from a severe case of writers block. I couldn’t even muster a witty email until very recently (some may comment that I still can’t….).

Now I still plan to post that riveting analysis of the second best part of a cow. So you still get to look forward to that with unjustified enthusiasm.

But it’s going to have to wait.

A couple of hours ago I got a hair cut.

I’m one of those lucky people whose hairdresser also doubles as both counsellor and very dear friend. This is not a deal that Matthew really had much of a say in, but he’s been a very good sport and has kindly refrained from changing his number on me.

Anyway, he cuts a damn good head of hair. So much so that I feel a little like Don King hustling his talent (currently sporting the same haircut… coincidence?…).

Damn I'm good looking

Damn I’m good looking

So I’m sitting in the chair with my newly bleached, then blue rinsed, then shorn, then mohawked hair and I started to feel a feeling I’ve been missing in recent weeks… Enthusiasm.

It’s no big secret that I am Gollum’s grumpy cousin in Winter. Some demon takes over me that turns me into a giant pain in the ass. No amount of dairy-free, sugar-free, 85% cocoa mocklate can get me out of my slump (it seriously calls for the good stuff).

As Matthew has known me for quite sometime, and being the well adjusted human man that he is, he has developed a coping mechanism for my visits – wine.

So I’m sitting there with my grumpy cat face on and as my haircut is taking shape, my face is transforming into something I haven’t seen for a while. I think people call it a smile.

Lilac is the new blue rinse

Lilac is the new blue rinse

It dawned of me all of a sudden that wellbeing for me, is getting my creative groove on. I didn’t need those 30 hours of therapy after all! All I needed was a haircut and a blue rinse!

Creativity and in turn wellbeing comes in many, many different forms – baking, painting, singing, working, gardening, running, writing, speaking, a bit of pampering – whatever. For me, it’s doing something out of the ordinary.

And a good, colorful haircut was just what I needed to move my slump. 

Consider this a public service announcement. This is my list of ten things to get your creative juices flowing and increase your wellbeing:

  1. Get a haircut. You don’t have to go all out. Get a trim. Spruce yourself up. 
  2. Eat chocolate. The REAL stuff. As good as healthy chocolate can be. There is no substitute for cocoa and sugar. Strike me down. I said it.
  3. Write. Something. Anything. It could be your name over and over again if that’s what it takes (not judging), but writing helps.
  4. Be nice to people. I have a theory – Work hard, have fun, be nice to people. Genius!
  5. Pet a dog. If you have a crippling fear of dogs, you can substitute ‘dog’ for parakeet, kitten or miniature pony. It’s really not important.
  6. Donate to charity. Time or money, it doesn’t matter. Nothing is as good for your wellbeing as positively contributing to the wellbeing of someone else.
  7. Hug someone. Science tells us that babies benefit from close human contact. If it works for babies than chances are it works for big people.
  8. Breathe in fresh air. Even though it’s cold, and even though the couch is tempting, crisp oxygen will rejuvenate you whether you realise it or not.
  9. Finish something. This is vague. And that’s intentional. I am the grand starter of many things, finisher of none. But finishing stuff gives you immense satisfaction. Don’t judge me for quitting the crochet blanket/onesie.
  10. Be kind… to yourself. Your grump will pass and you’ll run out of recorded programmes on MySky and life will resume as normal. Breathe in. Now breathe out. And chill out.

If you want a number 11. I would highly recommend giving Hot Bikram Yoga a try. It’s not for everyone, but nothing says “get over yourself” like sweating profusely in a room that smells like mince meat with a bunch of half naked contortionists.

That’s all folks. Until next time. Enjoy the ride x

Winter – the serial killer of motivation

It’s almost 1pm on Saturday afternoon. I’ve just managed to pry myself off the couch and out of my jammies. I’ve also just finished half a family sized block of milk chocolate… And I’m considering going back for the second half.

“Nooooooo!!!!” You cry. “How have you slipped so low???”

Not even this will help.

Not even this will help.

If you are regularly reading my blog, then you’ll know I have been absent for the last few weeks. I’m sure you noticed and you’ve been missing me.

The problem is Winter.

Well, actually, it’s Autumn but I lump them both in the same camp.

You see, I suffer from SAD. Seasonal Affliction Disorder for those of you not in the know. SAD is a quasi-scientific affliction which causes sufferers to become grumpy, unmotivated, hungry for baked goods, a giant pain in the ass to be around and blame Mother Nature for her complete lack of respect of the need for sunshine.

And boy oh boy have I got it.

Sometimes SAD announces it’s arrival with the precise change of seasons, and sometimes it sneaks up on you when you’re least expecting it. One day you’re fine and you easily get up at 6am for your 5km run followed by your kale smoothie. The next day your favourite pair of shoes are your slippers and you don’t even remember if they were meant to be grey?

What do you mean I can't wear them outside?!

What do you mean I can’t wear them outside?!

I’m probably being slightly over dramatic (yet another symptom of SAD). It’s not like I’ve completely gone to the dogs. I’m still going to yoga 2-3 times a week, loving my weekly personal training session and climbing up some mountain every weekend. But now, when I indulge in a few pieces of chocolate and lie completely prone on the couch like a statue, I don’t wail in distress and leap off the couch and into a series of lunges. Instead, I break off another piece and sink myself lower into my butt groove.

The great news about SAD is that it’s not permanent.

The moment the sun comes out for more than four consecutive seconds and the wind dies down enough so that my hair isn’t accidentally styled into a mohawk, I’ll start feeling like a fully function human being again.

There are other things you can do to counter the effects as well. Here is my list of five things to help you out of your SAD slump.

  1. Eat comfort food. There is a good reason why they call it ‘comfort’ food. Delicious food really is good for the soul. I’m not for one second suggesting you go out and buy two litres of Coke and a packet of Twisties. That is NOT comfort food. That is called eating your feelings. I’m talking about a good, real, honest, home cooked feast. Try this Molten Lava Chocolate Cake from the Paleo Mom. I DARE you to not to feel better.
  2. Buy good looking gym pants. And then wear them on the couch. Seriously. I bought this incredible pair of yoga pants from Lululemon and they are the epitome of comfort. Lying on the couch has never felt this good. And strangely, it actually started to motivate me to leave the house. It’s like voodoo.
  3. Be grateful for Winter. Now this is tough. It can be downright impossible to find things that make you feel great about the fourth ‘100 year storm’ in one week. But there really are some things about Winter that aren’t completely awful – falling asleep to the rain outside, mulled wine, extra woolly socks, ear muffs, skiing/snowboarding (if you are that way inclined… I am not), all types of soup, and not having to make an excuse to stay in doors and watch a Simpsons marathon. See? That’s just a few to get you started.
  4. Watch Jenna Marbles. If you haven’t seen a Jenna Marbles video then I just don’t know who you are. This girl has 13,000,000 subscribers to her Youtube videos!! That is cray cray! There is a good reason for it. She’s hilarious. A couple of my favourite videos – How Home Workouts Work, Better Names for Animals and Drunk Makeup Tutorial (which, by the way, has been viewed more than 18,000,000 times!!! So I’m not the only one who enjoys it). You’re welcome.
  5. Be kind to yourself. As easy as it is to fall down the hole of “I’m the worst person in the world because I haven’t showered for two days and I’ve abandoned kale and quinoa for white bread and coffee”, you’re actually a perfectly awesome human being. Let it go. You’ll come right. This is only temporary. Buy yourself a nice pen and a warm pair of socks. Maybe get the Pharrell album and play ‘Happy’ on repeat a 100 times.

So there you go. I hope I’ve been forgiven for neglecting you. I promise to write another post soon… While I wait for my fondue to cook. Until next time, enjoy the ride. x

 

What a pain in the ass

A couple of weekends ago, I finished my first 10km race. That’s 10 whole kilometres of non-stop running. 10,000 metres of burning thighs. An average of 8,500 steps of sweaty eyebrows.

image

Now I'd like pancakes.

Understandably, I was pretty thrilled. Even more so because this time last year, if you’d suggested to me I would be running 10km I would’ve laughed, then cried and then ate another piece of bacon dipped in nutella.

I really enjoy running. This usually surprises people because running is
such a solitary sport and I am not… ahem… a solitary person.

Yet, something about running on a lonely road at dusk, with no end in sight, and your concentration on nothing more than putting one foot in of the other, is really appealing to me.

Maybe it’s because I really like the sound of my own voice and so I have ample time to talk to myself. Who knows.

A couple of years back when my dog Chuck was a wriggling ball of endless enthusiasm and energy (now she’s found smackos. We’re good), we used to take her out running. She was all paws and tongue and she generally didn’t care where we were going as long as she was glued to your legs.

On one occasion, her enthusiasm got the better of both of us.

I won’t say exactly who is to blame because it’s uncharitable to blame a cute two year old pug, but she stopped right in front of me and I fell.

I remember the exact moment my disc crunched my sciatic nerve. I remember the exact moment that lightening bolts of pain shot down my leg and into my toes. I remember the exact moment I said a lot of swear words that would embarrass even the most unsavory of characters.

And there went my plans of running a half marathon. Just like that. In the hyperextension of a knee.

Over the next few years I tried every therapy available to satisfy the chronic, often excrutiating and constant pain running through my leg:

Tramadol = Nothing says “hire me!” Like throwing up on the first day of your temp job. Hello hallucinations.

Physiotherapy = That gel is cold and I’m paying you how much, to do what?

Bowen Therapy = Still not entirely sure what this does but I think its working?

Chiropractor = Should my spin be pointing in that direction?

Acupressure = Should I be bruising like that?

Acupuncture = Have I mentioned I don’t like needles?

Orthapedic surgeon = You’re telling me I just have to “learn to live with it”?!!

image

Yes, that IS an ice pack on my ass.

None of this worked for me. And for the past few years I learned to cope and accept that I would never run in the way that I wanted to.

When I changed my lifestyle though, I changed my attitude.

For too long I’d been satisfied that pain would be the master of me and I was sick of it.

So this year I started running again.

I started small. The odd kilometer here and there. A hill walk punctuated by a burst of runnning. Some vertical hikes up the sides of mountains.

Then one day I went for a run and realised that at 7.5km I was at the longest distance I had ever run!!!!

And that Saturday, I ran my first 10km.

Sure, it turned out that the run was part of some medical conference and it didn’t appear it was open to the public (“who’s enjoying the conference?!??!” Ummm what?). Sure, it meant getting up at 5.30 in the morning on a Saturday. Ew. Sure, I came last.

But I did it. And I felt unstoppable.

It sounds bizarre, but I talk to my pain. I treat it like a member of my extended family. I can’t choose it. And it may always be there. Sometimes it overstays its welcome. And sometimes I need a glass of wine and a panadol to help me through it.

But now I know that I’m the boss and it doesn’t have to own me… Well now I can train for that half marathon aye.

Enjoy the ride x

Goodbye Giant Undies

Dear Giant Undies,

I’d like to wish you well for your retirement.

You’ve served me well over the years, but I’m no longer in need of your services.

We’ve been good friends you and I. You’ve hidden my muffin top and dealt with my butt cheeks admirably. I fondly remember the time you held it all together underneath the clingy green dress of doom.

You never complained when I asked so much of you. I stretched you too the brink at times but you took your job seriously and you concealed all the wobbly bits with a sense of pride and confidence.

I know you often compared yourself to Bridget Jones’s granny knickers, but to me you’ve been so much more than an unsightly undergarment. You’ve been a huge support, I could easily rely on you to be behind the scenes while I took the glory and you’ve backed me time and time again.

There have been so many times that we’ve laughed together, like that time Jeff saw you poking out from under my running shorts and wondered what you were! Oh the good times.

It’s not that I don’t still want you in my life (because I do), it’s just that I have running shoes in my life now and it has meant that I don’t have the same requirement of your services.

You will always hold a very special place in my memories, and I will be forever grateful for your contribution to my life.

I would love to say that I hope we’ll meet again, but I don’t think we will.

All the best, and thank you for your service.

With kindest regards,

Pia

Retiring giant undies thanks to fluro running shoes

Retiring giant undies thanks to fluro running shoes